Zahir al-Din Muhammad Babur (1483-1530) founded the Mughal Empire of India in 1526. Babur was a native of the Ferghanah Valley, the eastern region of modern day Uzbekistan that borders the Xinjiang region of China. Since the early Han era, the Ferghanah Valley has been one of the principal routes for commerce between China and the West along the Silk Road.
In this enclave, the Chinese also found the Heavenly or Blood-Sweating Horses (war horses) for combatting the nomads north of the Great Wall. Babur regarded the geometrically precise Persian garden as his society’s most important social and cultural institution. Within these pleasing environments, the Mughals found refuge, entertained, recited poetry, admired dancers and musicians, and planned military strategy. Babur’s appreciation of these gardens reminds readers that the word “paradise” comes from the Persian term for an “enclosed garden.”